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Premises Liability – Fall Down – Alleged failure of bowling center to conduct adequate inspections and remove foreign substance – Plaintiff slips and falls – Incident captured on video surveillance system – Liability only.

Union County, NJ

Gross damages were stipulated for an undisclosed sum in this matter and this case was tried on liability only. The plaintiff, who was bowling in a league, contended that the defendant negligently failed to conduct adequate maintenance and remove a sticky, tacky, foreign substance from the alley. The plaintiff contended that as a result, her foot stopped short as she was about to roll the ball and that she fell forward onto her face and stomach.

The incident occurred during the fourth frame of the plaintiff’s first game. The plaintiff established no one had been recently using the two lanes assigned to the plaintiff’s team. The defendant denied notice of any dangerous condition. The defendant also denied that the incident occurred in the manner advanced by the plaintiff or that her foot stopped short, resulting in her falling forward.

The incident was captured on the defendant’s video surveillance system. The defendant maintained that the video clearly showed that the plaintiff had slid past the foul line and ended up falling backwards onto her buttocks and back. The plaintiff also indicated that she had not released the bowling ball before her fall occurred because she was still in midst of her back swing. The defendant countered that the video showed the plaintiff had followed through with her swing and had let go off the bowling ball before she slid past the foul line.The jury found for the defendant.

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